I have been hiking Monhegan for almost 15 years and have yet to get bored with the terrain or the views. I get out for hikes on the trails just about every day all-year round, and this year the island has gotten more snow than we have had in years.
Monhegan Island is known for it’s untarnished beauty and extensive hiking trails. About 2/3 of the island is in conservation easements, thanks to the efforts of Monhegan Associates, and so there are many areas to explore. Despite the relative small size of the island, 1.5 miles long by .5 miles wide, there are almost 17 miles of hiking trails. The terrain is quite varied - the backside is rocky with high cliffs, Cathedral woods provides shelter on windy days, and Pebble beach has big, beautiful round stones that are fun to explore.
With the snow accumulation this year, I have been running into road blocks at every entrance to the trails which has been making it harder to get out and hike.
So the last time I was inshore, I went to the local sports retail store and picked up a pair of Atlas snow shoes. I love them - they solve the problem of big snow drifts, and give me the freedom to get outside and active despite the inclement weather, every day. I have always been a bit of a trail blazer and ‘road-less-traveled’ kind of girl... I love the action of breaking a trail, of crossing the un-crossable and of going places I couldn’t go to before. So far I have crossed our water filled meadow, gone into ravines I would otherwise have steered clear of, and been able to frolic along the edges of some huge snow drifts.
If you have had a hard time getting outside and active this winter because of the large snow fall, snowshoes may just be the answer to your dilemma. They are relatively inexpensive and they are hardy enough to last upwards of 10-15 years. Some brands or retail outlets will repair snow shoes for you as well.
Snowshoeing does not require a lot of extra gear. Of course - just like any sport you can buy accessories and special gear or outfits - but you don’t need these things.
What you will need is layers of water-resistant clothing for warmth, good snow boots, and good snow gloves. Most likely you already own these things, so I recommend you just go out and get yourself some snow shoes. There are still plenty of opportunities to use them this year!
Tara Hire lives on Monhegan Island year-round, which is no simple choice! She is a nutritionist, a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and writer. This piece was originally published on Tara's blog.